Knight Rider (1982 TV series)

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Knight Rider
Knightlogo.png
Genre Action/Adventure
Science fiction
Created by Glen A. Larson
Starring David Hasselhoff
Edward Mulhare
Patricia McPherson
(season 1, 3–4)
Rebecca Holden
(season 2)
Peter Parros
(season 4)
Voices of William Daniels (uncredited)
Narrated by Richard Basehart (uncredited)
Theme music composer Stu Phillips
Glen A. Larson
Composer(s) Stu Phillips
Don Peake
Morton Stevens (one episode)
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 4
No. of episodes 90 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Glen A. Larson
Robert Foster
Location(s) California
Running time 45 minutes
Production company(s) Glen A. Larson Productions
MCA/Universal
Distributor NBC Universal Television Distribution
Broadcast
Original channel NBC
Audio format Mono (season 1–3)
stereo (season 4)
Original run September 26, 1982 (1982-09-26) – August 8, 1986 (1986-08-08)
Chronology
Followed by Knight Rider (2008 TV series)
Related shows Code of Vengeance
Team Knight Rider

Knight Rider is an American television series that originally ran from September 26, 1982, to August 8, 1986. The series was broadcast on NBC and stars David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight, a high-tech modern crime fighter assisted by an advanced, artificially intelligent and nearly indestructible car.

Conceived and produced by Glen A. Larson, the show was an instant hit.

Premise[edit]

Self-made billionaire Wilton Knight rescues police Detective Lieutenant Michael Arthur Long after a near fatal shot to the face, giving him a new identity (via plastic surgery) and a new name: Michael Knight. Wilton selects Michael to be the primary field agent in the pilot program of his public justice organization, the Foundation for Law and Government (FLAG). The other half of this pilot program is the Knight Industries Two Thousand (KITT), a heavily modified Pontiac Firebird Trans Am with numerous features including an extremely durable shell and frame, controlled by a computer with artificial intelligence. Michael and KITT are brought in during situations where "direct action might provide the only feasible solution".

Heading FLAG is Devon Miles, who provides Michael with directives and guidance. Dr. Bonnie Barstow is the chief engineer in charge of KITT's care, as well as technical assistant to Devon (April Curtis fills this role in Season 2).

Production[edit]

The car used as KITT in the series was a customized 1982 Pontiac Trans-Am sports model, that cost US$100,000 to build.[1]

Cast and characters[edit]

  • David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight (born Michael Arthur Long), an undercover Las Vegas police detective who, while on a case, is shot in the face and nearly killed. Wilton Knight, founder of Knight Industries and creator of FLAG, directs his doctors to save Long's life and reconstruct his face. With his new identity, "Michael Knight", Long is provided with high tech crime-fighting equipment, most notably the car named KITT.
  • William Daniels as the voice of KITT, for Knight Industries Two Thousand, the autonomous, artificially intelligent car, with whom Michael Knight is partnered. Daniels, who simultaneously starred on St. Elsewhere, requested to not be credited for his role as KITT's voice.
  • Edward Mulhare as Devon Miles, the leader of FLAG, who appeared in nearly every episode to provide mission details to Knight and KITT. He was also the spokesman for FLAG whenever it came under scrutiny.
  • Patricia McPherson as Dr. Bonnie Barstow (Seasons 1, 3-4), KITT's chief technician and romantic tension for Michael. The character was dropped after the first season, but due to strong fan reaction and lobbying by Hasselhoff and Mulhare, she was returned for the third season and remained through the end of the series.[2]
  • Rebecca Holden as April Curtis (Season 2), chief technician for KITT. The character was written out when Patricia McPherson returned. The connection between the two was never established in any installments.
  • Peter Parros as Reginald Cornelius III aka RC3 (Season 4), driver of the FLAG mobile unit and occasional sideman for Michael and KITT.
  • Richard Basehart as Wilton Knight, the creator of FLAG, who dies in the pilot episode. Basehart's voice, however, is heard throughout the series, narrating over the intro and outro.
  • David Hasselhoff as Garthe Knight, Wilton's psychopathic son, on whose face Michael's new face was modeled. He only appeared twice in Season 2, in the installments "Goliath" and "Goliath Returns", both of which were two-hour installments. He had a strong hatred for Michael and saw him as an insult to his existence. He drove a heavily armored truck named Goliath.

Episodes[edit]

The intro throughout most of the episodes began with a narration:
"Knight Rider, a shadowy flight into the dangerous world of a man who does not exist.
Michael Knight, a young loner on a crusade to champion the cause of the innocent, the helpless, the powerless in a world of criminals who operate above the law."

Throughout the first season, the outro was Michael and K.I.T.T driving though a road in the desert with Wilton Knight's words of "One man can make a difference Michael."

Then the narration goes on to say:
"Michael Knight, a lone crusader in a dangerous world. The world of the Knight Rider."

The outro of seasons 2 and 3 was Michael and K.I.T.T driving into the sunset. Season 4's outro was the same except with K.I.T.T. in Super Pursuit Mode.

DVD releases[edit]

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has released all four seasons of Knight Rider on DVD in regions 1, 2 & 4. A complete series box set featuring all 90 episodes in a collector's edition box has been released in regions 1[3] & 2.[4]

Season Episodes Originally aired DVD release date
Season premiere Season finale Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
1 22 September 26, 1982 (1982-09-26) May 6, 1983 (1983-05-06) August 3, 2004 (2004-08-03) September 13, 2004 (2004-09-13) December 1, 2004 (2004-12-01)
2 24 October 2, 1983 (1983-10-02) May 27, 1984 (1984-05-27) April 12, 2005 (2005-04-12) July 4, 2005 (2005-07-04) September 19, 2005 (2005-09-19)
3 22 September 30, 1984 (1984-09-30) May 5, 1985 (1985-05-05) January 31, 2006 (2006-01-31) May 26, 2006 (2006-05-26) July 12, 2006 (2006-07-12)
4 22 September 20, 1985 (1985-09-20) April 4, 1986 (1986-04-04) April 4, 2006 (2006-04-04) September 18, 2006 (2006-09-18) September 20, 2006 (2006-09-20)

Spinoffs and sequels[edit]

Code of Vengeance[edit]

The two-part episode "Mouth of the Snake" served as a backdoor pilot for a 1984 series to be called All That Glitters. Rejected by NBC, the lead character and actor were recycled for a short-lived 1985-1986 series titled Code of Vengeance, revolving around Charles Taylor as Vietnam veteran David Dalton. As a result, the participation of Michael Knight and KITT in the episode was actually quite limited. The Knight Rider episode featured Dalton exhibiting great gymnastics, not unlike The Six Million Dollar Man without bionics, but when Code of Vengeance aired, Dalton was an ordinary-skilled drifter. It soon fell off the schedules after only two two-hour movies and two one-hour episodes.[5]

Knight Rider 2000[edit]

Main article: Knight Rider 2000

Knight Rider 2000 was a 1991 sequel movie featuring Michael Knight and Devon Miles, with KITT being given a new sporty red body (a close copy of the Pontiac Banshee IV concept car, actually a Dodge Stealth with custom body work) as the Knight 4000. It served as a pilot for a would-be new series starring Susan Norman as Shawn McCormick, but the series never materialized.

Knight Rider 2010[edit]

Knight Rider 2010 is a 1994 movie loosely based on the show. There are so few links to the original show, it may not be considered canon other than for carrying the Knight Rider title.[original research?] The film was penned by Miami Vice writer John Leekley.

Team Knight Rider[edit]

In 1997, Team Knight Rider was introduced as a spinoff. Set sometime in the near future, the show featured a fleet of intelligent vehicles. Michael Knight returned at the end of the final episode of the first season, though he was not played by David Hasselhoff. This was a cliffhanger intended to be explained in the next season. However, the show did not catch on and the second season was not commissioned. Team Knight Rider ran for 22 episodes.

2008 television movie and sequel[edit]

On September 26, 2007, NBC announced that it was creating a two-hour backdoor pilot to air later that season.[6] In the new version, Justin Bruening stars as the estranged son of Michael Knight, Mike Traceur.[7] Deanna Russo plays Traceur's one-time girlfriend and love interest, Sarah Graiman.[7] Bruce Davison co-stars as her father, physicist Charles Graiman, the original designer of KITT (Knight Industries Two Thousand).[7] Wayne Kasserman co-stars as Mike's roommate and friend.[8] David Hasselhoff appeared in the pilot as Michael Knight.[7] The new KITT (Knight Industries Three Thousand) is portrayed as a Ford Shelby GT 500 KR Mustang.[9]

Supervising producer Dave Andron wrote the pilot script, Doug Liman and Dave Bartis executive produced it.[7] NBC announced on December 13, 2007 that the 2-hour pilot would air on February 17, 2008. Val Kilmer recorded the voice for the new KITT (Knight Industries Three Thousand) Mustang, after Will Arnett, who initially won the role, was asked to withdraw by General Motors due to his prior advertising agreements with them.[10] Sydney Tamiia Poitier, the youngest daughter of Sidney Poitier, played FBI agent Carrie Rivai.

After receiving good ratings, NBC announced that Knight Rider would return as a weekly series beginning in the fall of 2008. The show aired Wednesdays at 8:00pm/7:00pm CT.[11] The series premiered September 24, 2008. In November 2008, NBC announced that the series had been picked up for a complete 22-episode season, but that several cast members would be leaving and the story lines would be revamped after the original 13-episode order.[12] On May 19, 2009, NBC announced that Knight Rider was canceled after one season because of poor ratings.[citation needed]

Film adaptation[edit]

In March 2002, Revolution Studios announced a partnership with Mayhem Pictures to create a film adaptation of the TV series. The film would be re-designed to be similar to Revolution's previous project, xXx. Series creator Glen A. Larson was hired to write the first script draft, with the series' lead actor David Hasselhoff attached to advise the project and also have an onscreen role.[13] In April 2003, Revolution Studios hired screenwriters David Elliott and Paul Lovett to pen the film's script.[14] In April 2004, the premise of the film was described as having Hasselhoff reprise his role as Michael Knight, now the mentor to the protagonist as Devon Miles mentored Knight in the TV series. The protagonist would be Knight's son, inheriting his father's role and driving the vehicle KITT. The producers' choice for the role was actor Ben Affleck.[15]

In May 2006, The Weinstein Company acquired film rights to adapt Knight Rider from series creator Larson. He expressed his interest in the film adaptation as a potential franchise property.[16] The following September, Hasselhoff invited actor Orlando Bloom to portray Knight's son in the film adaptation, but Bloom turned down the offer.[17] In April 2007, Hasselhoff said, that the film was in development at Miramax, and that he would at least have a cameo in the film.[18]

On June 26, 2013, Brad Copeland was writing a script for a Knight Rider film after beating out Travis Beacham & Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci.[19]

On February 13, 2014, Schmoes Know reports that actors Chris Pratt and Danny McBride are in talks for roles and may use a sort of action-comedy hybrid in the same vein as 21 Jump Street.[20]

In syndication[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

In 1984, "Hooray for Hollywood", a two-part episode of Diff'rent Strokes, David Hasselhoff and KITT appeared when rescuing Arnold Jackson, played by Gary Coleman and Dudley Ramsey, played by Shavar Ross from a near on-set incident while visiting Universal Studios Hollywood.

A black Pontiac Firebird Trans Am built to mimic KITT from the TV series Knight Rider.

On July 8, 2008, GPS manufacturer Mio Technology announced the release of a Knight Rider-themed GPS unit for a price of $270. The unit has the original Knight Rider logo printed above the display and features the voice of William Daniels.[21]

In 2012 and 2013, General Electric ran an advertising campaign, "Brilliant Machines," about the coming generation of General Electric robotic devices. The campaign was built around famous robots from the movies and television, and K.I.T.T. was prominently featured.[22] One ad, narrated by William Daniels, showed K.I.T.T. in Autocruise mode racing a GE diesel-electric railroad engine hauling a freight train.[23]

Toys, games and vehicles[edit]

Various toy versions of KITT were released and produced solid profits. Among the more notable of the Knight Rider memorabilia includes the remote controlled KITT, the Knight Rider lunch box, and the deluxe version of KITT. This final model, sold by Kenner Toys and dubbed the "Knight Rider Voice Car", spoke electronically (actual voice of William Daniels), featured a detailed interior and a Michael Knight action figure as well.[24]

In the 1980s there was a Knight Rider toy vehicle for Germany's Darda system.[25]

Knight Rider: The Game was produced for PlayStation 2 by Davilex International under license. Players could drive KITT through 15 missions and meeting characters from the show like Devon, Bonnie, KARR and Garthe Knight.[26] Davilex also released a sequel in late 2004.[27]

As with many popular series of the era (including The Dukes of Hazzard, The A-Team etc.), ERTL released die-cast toys of KITT in three different sizes — the common miniature sized model, a 'medium' sized model, and a large sized model. These toys featured red reflective holograms on the nose to represent the scanner (however, they were located on the point of the nose, rather like the early mock-up of KITT seen in the Pilot) as opposed to altering the basic model design to incorporate the scanner as commonly seen in the series. The toys also included round steering wheels as opposed to KITT's customized one. Also in late 2004, 1/18 scale die-cast models of KITT and KARR were produced from ERTL complete with detailed interior and light up moving scanner just like in the series.[28]

In September 2006, Hitari, a UK-based company that produces remote control toy cars, released the Knight Rider KITT remote control car in 1/15 scale complete with the working red scanner lights, KITT's voice from the TV show and the car's turbine engine sound with the "whoosh whoosh" scanner sound effect.[29][30]

In December 2012, Diamond Select Toys released a talking electronic 1/15 scale KITT which features a light up dashboard, scanner, foglights and tail lights along with the original voice of KITT, William Daniels, all at a push of a button. An Entertainment Earth exclusive version of that Diamond Select Toys 1/15 KITT, exclusive as it will include an in scale figure of Michael Knight to go with the car, was released in February 2013 and is available exclusively at Entertainment Earth's website. Diamond Select Toys will also be releasing an 8-inch figure of Michael Knight with the likeness of David Hasselhoff which will be released in March 2013.[31][32][33]

In February 2013, Hot Wheels released a 1/18 diecast of KITT as part of their diecast Elite series of vehicles under their Cult Classics Collection. This one from Hot Wheels was an improvement over the one ERTL released back in 2004. With sharper attention to details on the dashboard, the model features an improved light up red scanner, opening doors and rear hatch, as well as an engine hood which opens up to reveal a detailed Knight 2000 turbine engine which is exclusive to the model and was never shown in the TV series. Additional features include pop up headlights, revolving license plates, ejector seats, removable t-tops and a foldable rear seat.[34]

Music[edit]

The theme music of Knight Rider was written by American composer Stu Phillips.[35]

The Knight Rider theme was sampled in the songs Clock Strikes and Fire It Up,[36] and was also featured as Ted's ringtone in John's phone in the 2012 comedy film Ted.[37]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

Non-fiction[edit]

  • Nugent, Nick (2008). The Knight Rider Companion: The Ultimate Guide to Original Knight Rider Mythology. Will Garris Publishing. ISBN 9780977450596. 
  • Huth, Joe F.; Levine, Richie F. (2002). Knight Rider Legacy: The Unofficial Guide to the Knight Rider Universe. Writers Club Press. ISBN 9780595298488. 

Fiction[edit]

  • Glen Larson and Roger Hill (1983). Knight Rider. Pinnacle Books. ISBN 0-523-42170-2 (adapted from and expanded upon the feature-length / two-part Pilot episode - among other differences, Tanya is shot in the face rather than the chest in the climax)
  • Glen Larson and Roger Hill (1984). Knight Rider: Trust Doesn't Rust. Pinnacle Books. ISBN 0-523-42181-8 (adapted from and expanded upon the first season episode of the same name)
  • Glen Larson and Roger Hill (1984). Knight Rider: Hearts of Stone. Pinnacle Books. ISBN 0-523-42182-6 (adapted from and expanded upon the first season episode of the same name)
  • Glen Larson and Roger Hill (1984). Knight Rider: The 24-Carat Assassin. (UK publication only) (adapted from and expanded upon the feature-length / two-part second season episode 'Mouth of the Snake'. Interestingly, the back of the book states that it is adapted from All The Glitters – the working title for the story)
  • Glen Larson and Roger Hill (1984). Knight Rider: Mirror Image. (UK publication only) (adapted from and expanded upon the feature-length / two-part second season episode Goliath. The back of the book states that it is adapted from Goliath and Goliath Returns, but the actual story is only adapted from Goliath. One of the interesting differences is that in the book, Garthe Knight is called Garthe Bishop. This novel also states that April is actually Devon's daughter, but this was never used in the series and is not considered canon)

A series of annuals were published each year in the UK by Grandreams. These books consisted of a mix of text stories and cartoon strips, as well as photos and articles on the shows stars and KITT. There were five annuals produced in total, each reflecting the different season of the show, that was airing at the time, with the final two releases covering the final season. (The last annual was printed in a quite small quantity, due to popularity of the show gradually fading, and is considerably rarer as a result).

References[edit]

  1. ^ Browning, Norma Lee. "Riding High with Knight Rider", Toys R Us magazine; Vol. 1, No. 2; 1986; Page 5
  2. ^ Nugent, Nick (December 2008). The Knight Rider Companion. Will Garris Publishing. p. 91. ISBN 0-9774505-9-7. 
  3. ^ Knight Rider: The Complete Series. "Knight Rider: The Complete Series: David Hasselhoff, Edward Mulhare: Movies & TV". Amazon.com. Retrieved September 5, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Knight Rider - The Complete Box Set [DVD]: Amazon.co.uk: David Hasselhoff, Edward Mulhare, Patricia Mcpherson, Julian Alverez, James Young: Film & TV". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved September 5, 2012. 
  5. ^ Buck, Jerry (January 1, 1986). "Premiere delay only one of the problems facing 'Dalton'". The Modesto Bee. p. D8. Retrieved March 21, 2010. 
  6. ^ Adalian, Josef (September 26, 2007). "NBC taps Liman for 'Knight Rider'". Variety Magazine. www.variety.com. Retrieved September 30, 2007. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Andreeva, Nellie (November 20, 2007). "Pair help KITT-start new 'Rider'". Hollywood Reporter (www.hollywoodreporter.com). Archived from the original on May 17, 2008. Retrieved December 16, 2007. 
  8. ^ "Knight Cast Fills Out." scifi.com, November 29, 2007.
  9. ^ West, Kelly (November 30, 2007). "Pictures Of Remake-Knight Rider's KITT Surface Online". Blend Television. www.cinemablend.com. Retrieved November 31, 2007.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  10. ^ "Kilmer 'will voice' Knight Rider". BBC. February 7, 2008. Retrieved February 7, 2008. 
  11. ^ "NBC reveals complete 52-week program strategy, earlier than ever, that gives advertisers the opportunity to create unique marketing solutions" (Press release). NBC Universal. 
  12. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (November 10, 2008). ""Knight Rider" changes gears, ejects stars". Hollywood Reporter. 
  13. ^ Michael Fleming (March 18, 2002). "Revolution revs 'Rider'". Variety. Retrieved April 14, 2007. 
  14. ^ Marc Graser (April 13, 2003). "Scribes revving up 'Knight Rider' pic". Variety. Retrieved April 14, 2007. 
  15. ^ "Knightmare". Empire. April 13, 2004. Retrieved April 14, 2007. 
  16. ^ Ian Mohr (May 8, 2006). "TV's 'Knight' rides again". Variety. Retrieved April 14, 2007. 
  17. ^ "Bloom snubs The Hoff's role". News.com.au. September 1, 2006. Retrieved April 14, 2007. 
  18. ^ Brooke Tarnoff (May 2, 2007). "David Hasselhoff in Knight Rider Movie? Perhaps.". UGO. Retrieved May 2, 2007. 
  19. ^ "Arrested Development’s Brad Copeland Writing Knight Rider Movie". Bleeding Cool Comic Book, Movie, TV News. Retrieved October 1, 2014. 
  20. ^ "Schmoes Know Exclusive: The Weinstein Company’s ‘KNIGHT RIDER’ Remake Has Offers Out To Two Major Stars!". Schmoes Know. 
  21. ^ "Knight Rider GPS by Mio Brings K.I.T.T. to Every Car" (Press release). MiTAC Intl. July 8, 2008. 
  22. ^ "GE - Journey". YouTube. Retrieved October 1, 2014. 
  23. ^ "Knight Rider KITT and the Locomotive Train GE 2012 TV Commercial". YouTube. Retrieved October 1, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Knight 2000 Voice Car From Kenner". teamknightrider.com. Retrieved February 22, 2011. 
  25. ^ "Classic & Current Darda Cars - The A-Z of darda cars in pictures". darda.co.uk. Retrieved February 22, 2011. 
  26. ^ "Knight Rider: The Game (PlayStation 2)". IGN Entertainment. Retrieved February 22, 2011. 
  27. ^ "Knight Rider 2 (PC)". IGN Entertainment. Retrieved February 22, 2011. 
  28. ^ "1983 Knight Rider KITT diecast model car 1:18 scale die cast by Ertl". Amazon.com. Retrieved February 22, 2011. 
  29. ^ "KNIGHT RIDER - K.I.T.T.". HITARI. Retrieved February 22, 2011. 
  30. ^ "KNIGHT RIDER - K.I.T.T. - Specification Sheet". HITARI. Retrieved February 22, 2011. 
  31. ^ "Knight Rider 1:15 Scale KITT". Diamond Select Toys. Retrieved December 26, 2012. 
  32. ^ "EE Exclusive Knight Rider KITT Vehicle with Michael Knight". Entertainment Earth. Retrieved December 26, 2012. 
  33. ^ "Knight Rider Select-8 Michael Knight Cloth Figure". Diamond Select Toys. Retrieved December 26, 2012. 
  34. ^ "Hot Wheels Elite 1/18 KITT". Hot Wheels. Retrieved March 7, 2013. 
  35. ^ Stu Phillips official biography at stuwho.com
  36. ^ "the best in hip hop/soul". www.ascap.com. Retrieved October 1, 2014. 
  37. ^ "Movie Habit.com - Review of Ted (*1/2)". Retrieved October 1, 2014. 

External links[edit]